Are you and your fiance on the fence about eloping or having a larger, more traditional wedding? Unsure of how to decide if eloping is right for you? In today's wedding planning advice post, we're going to be sharing the pros and cons of eloping to get married. We’ll share our expert wedding opinion, as well as give you some thoughts and helpful advice that you might have heard before to help make your eloping (or not!) decision just a bit easier.
Whether that's at the courthouse in a civil wedding ceremony, or in a mini destination wedding at a remote location, we’re going to figure out what’s right for the two of you when it comes to your wedding day. It can be a tough decision to elope or to have a larger, more traditional wedding, but we're here to help so that you can have a wedding (big or small) with no regrets!
Before we get started talking about the pros and cons of eloping, we should probably talk about what eloping is first so that we’re all on the same page when it comes to planning the wedding of your dreams.
When we talk about “eloping” to get married, we’re referring to a wedding ceremony between just the two people getting married. An elopement is when the two engaged forgo a larger wedding with witnesses, wedding parties and wedding guests, and instead they go off together and get married on their own, just the two of them.
An elopement can be at the courthouse, in their backyard or on an island, but no matter where you do it or how you do it, when you and your partner get married in a very small setting, with just the two of you (and the officiant, of course), it is generally referred to as eloping.
Engaged couples choose to elope on their wedding day for tons of reasons! Some seek a more intimate day (aka smaller guest list) than the traditional planned wedding, whereas others may just be looking to save some money and avoid the inevitable stress that often comes with planning a wedding. Remember, with more wedding guests comes more money spent and sometimes (not all the time) more drama and hassle.
Elopement wedding ceremonies can give engaged couples an incomparable sense of intimacy, priority, and expression of love. After all, it’s just you and your partner during an elopement so all the focus is on you!
If you are looking for a small, ultra-romantic vibe at your wedding, then eloping is definitely an option you and your partner need to consider.
Although an elopement isn’t the most common way to get married, many engaged couples find that it fits their wishes better than a big wedding ceremony, and that’s okay!
Here is our expert list of pros and cons of eloping to get married…
The number one pro or upside to eloping is definitely the intimacy.
Eloping to get married allows for couples to genuinely enjoy each other’s presence, without the extra pressure that additional wedding guests, friends, and family may bring.
The unmatched intimacy of eloping is true for the wedding day but also throughout the entire wedding planning process - it’s just you and your partner with very limited outside opinions to stress you out. In fact, many couples even elope in secret. (P.S. If you want more tips and advice on getting married in secret, be sure to check out our advice on that topic.)
Even between you and your fiance, a ceremony of just you and an officiant can make you feel closer to each other than ever before. If you’re hoping to start off that powerful, romantic energy earlier than you face loved ones (and maybe get the weddingnight *wink* started a little sooner after the ceremony) then eloping is the way to go!
The intimacy of an elopement ceremony (and the planning process) can not be beat!
One of the biggest cons or negatives to eloping instead of having a larger wedding ceremony is that you might regret your decision later on down the road. If you and your partner tend to be a bit impulsive, you better think twice before running off and eloping.
Especially if you have a community of (maybe too) personally invested loved ones, then there is a possibility that you’ll regret not seeing their faces on your special wedding day. Whether it be wishing they were there to witness a monumental moment in your life or dreading the snarky remarks of uninvited family members, there are things left to be worried about if you go through with an elopement.
This alone may not be a reason to go through the time and money of planning a formal wedding ceremony, but possible future regretsis enough to explore as part of what’s important to you and your fiance on your wedding day.
Photo Credit: Lindsay & Co. Photography
Traditionally planned weddings expect a lot out of everyone involved. Instead of coordinating how far friends and family are willing to travel to your destination wedding venue, or begging your best friends to be in your wedding party, sometimes it's better for an engaged couple to prioritize only their wants and needs.
Engaged couples may choose to use a pre-wedding elopement as an opportunity to travel, take a few days to themselves, and do many other things that are calming and grounding to them before their “real” wedding day.
This can be an excellent way to refocus a couple’s wedding priorities back onto themselves, but also to save (possibly a lot of) money. Having an elopement ceremony may allow room in your budget for you and your partner to splurge on, say, that custom embroidered wedding garter you’ve been eyeing.
It’s true what they say that sometimes wedding planning can become more about everyone else than the couple getting married!
Whether you consider these feelings valid or not, you are more susceptible to disagreements and unapproval from friends and family members if you choose to have an elopement ceremony. Is this a consequence that’s worth it for you to take? Do you see it being dramatically detrimental with friend and family bonds?
Even if you and your fiance are able to set healthy boundaries around these opinions, the possibility for conflict is inherently raised when you decide to elope and is thus a factor that you must consider.
Traditional weddings cost a lot of money, duh! With the independent nature of an elopement wedding ceremony, couples are able to drastically reduce the cost of their wedding day if they choose to do so.
Because of this, couples may find themselves with excess funds (either from themselves or the generosity of gifts from family) that allow for them to splurge in areas that they would not have been able to have if they had planned a traditional wedding ceremony. Think, booking your dream elopement photographer, planning an over-the-top honeymoon, or taking extra time off work to be together all within the comfort of the same budget as a traditional wedding ceremony!
Even if the elopement approach to wedding planning does not yield any excess of cash, it may still be the financially-smart decision for engaged couples with big (and expensive) goals following their wedding day.
While maybe not as complex and time consuming as planning a traditional wedding, planning an elopement is still a wedding after all. This special kind of ceremony requires particular planning around the logistics of the wedding (we’ve got to make sure the marriage is legally valid!) and the unique challenge of planning your ceremony to be picture perfect… by only the standards of you and your fiance.
Somehow, you still may feel out-of-control of your wedding ceremony because of how little is pushed upon you. Since eloping means choosing to prioritize only your wishes, the lack of societal implications can become daunting for some engaged couples.
So now that we’ve gone through some basic pros and cons of this unique wedding decision, how are you feeling? Do you and your partner feel a sense of excitement and are eager to learn more? Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices to be made around choosing to elope?
If you’re feeling any balls of excitement forming inside you, then please explore the idea of eloping for your wedding further! It can be a great option for intimacy seeking, decisive, ambitious couples to personalize their wedding day experience. (Heck, at this point you might even be thinking about having a secret wedding!!
And if you’re not really feeling the idea, that’s totally okay (and normal)! Although, we don’t recommend acting rashly on this inclination. It can never hurt to sit on it for a little while longer!
At the end of the day, all the planning that goes into your wedding day is aboutyou. So if you think it will make you happier to elope, then do it! It’s definitely not for everyone but that shouldn’t stop you from making your special day, special.
We know… the decision to elope isa lot! So what do you think? Will you elope for your wedding day?
For more tips and advice on small weddings and elopements, you might like:
Remember, you can shop for blue, vintage, classic and modern garter heirlooms anytime in my garter shop or get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on custom designing a garter just for you!
If you have any more garter questions, check out my garter 101 blog series or find all of my wedding planning advice here on my blog.